Echo Village Apartments: threat of eminent domain taking could reappear
According to the sacred rules of Amherst Town Meeting a "Motion to reconsider" an article (almost always one that has failed) can be made by any member as long as they did not "vote in the minority".
With Article 42, the controversial $2.6 million eminent domain taking of Echo Village Apartments, 24 units of formerly low-to-moderate priced rentals, that leaves plenty of opportunity since the main motion failed last week by being referred back to a committee for more study 95 yes-94 no.
That of course sounds skin-of-your-teeth close, except the main motion (taking the apartment complex by eminent domain) required a two-thirds super majority to pass, so it really wasn't even close.
If however one of those 95 yes voters (and I was one) changes their mind and wants to stand up and make a motion to reconsider, that's all it takes. Or someone who was not present at the meeting when the article was voted on, which in this case means 50 people.
Thus we have a potential pool of 145 movers. And it only takes one.
Town Meeting then debates and votes on whether they wish to reconsider. That requires a majority vote to pass. If passed, it then magically transforms us back to the moment before someone "called the question" to end debate.
Thus the discussion begins anew, while the clock keeps on ticking.
Either way Town Meeting will also get to Article 43 on Monday night, the other eminent domain article. This one calls for stealing the "development rights" on 154 acres of forest in northeast Amherst currently under contract to a student housing developer for $6.5 million dollars.
Scary to think in only one night Amherst Town Meeting could make back-to-back mistakes costing taxpayers $9 million dollars.